7 Reasons You Will Love Cycling in Myra Canyon

Cycling in Myra Canyon was at the top of my Things to Do list, on my most recent trip to Kelowna.

Despite my high expectations, Myra Canyon surpassed them! I LOVED, LOVED cycling in Myra Canon and think you will too – no matter how old you are. It’s suitable for children and adults of all ages!

Here’s why I loved it so much:

1) The Views of Kelowna and Lake Okanagan

Views of the Okangan Valley from Myra Canyon, a  scenic cycle route in Kelowna

Views of the Okangan Valley from Myra Canyon.

At 1430m (4100 feet) up you have incredible views over the valley! Not only that, you have a view for most of the 12km trail!

 

2) Cycling along the Kettle Valley Railway, an Important Piece of Canadian Hstory and an Engineering Wonder!

Cycling across 18 trestle bridges in Myra Canyon? I'm up for the adventure!

Me cycling along one of the 18 trestle bridges

The Myra Canyon section of the railway was completed in 1914 and used until 1972.  Building the railway was incredibly difficult.  The canyon was steep and carved out by two main creeks.  To get around this, chief engineer Andrew McCulloch built the railway to the sides of the canyon using  19 wooden trestle bridges and two tunnels to do it!  It was referred to as McCuloch’s Wonder! It’s humbling to cycle along a railway that such played an important part in shipping in the early days of the Western Frontier! 

 

3) Up-Close Chance to See How a Forest Recovers After a Forest Fire

Myra Canyon 12 years after the Okanagan Mountain Fire of 2003.

Myra Canyon 12 years after the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire of 2003.

The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in 2003 was fuelled by a constant wind and consumed 250 square kilometers of land and 239 homes.  12 years later you can still the results from the devastation. 12 of the wooden trestle bridges were burned, but have since been restored, tall barren tree trunks appear as skeletons in stark contrast to the bright green new growth that has since appeared. You can look at it and think, that’s coming up rather nicely, but when you compare it to the massive trees in the parts of the original forest that did survive,  you realize that it still has hundreds of years to go before it’s fully recovered.  Being a rather curious person, I relished the opportunity to get up-close and see how a forest recovers.  Which species grow quickly? Which ones are most abundant? Which ones are slow growth?  It’s fascinating to be right there and explore!

4) It’s Flat! Perfect for Enjoying the Views

The Myra Canyon scenic cycle route in Kelowna, British Columbia

One of the 18 trestle bridges you cycle over in Myra Canyon

While I love cycling, I prefer cycling on flat terrain and cycling along the trestles in Myra Canyon fits the bill! The railway was built with a maximum grade of 2.2 – all that the steam trains could handle! That way, instead of sweating so much and focusing on your burning legs, you can leisurely peddle while taking in the breathtaking views over the canyon!

5) Beat the Heat!

Being 1430m (4100 feet) higher than the valley means slightly cooler temperatures than what you’d find in Kelowna – something to be welcomed given how hot summers in the Okanagan can get!

6) 18 Trestles and 2 Tunnels

As part of the Myra Canyon scenic cycle route in Kelowna, cyclists go through 2 former railway tunnels.

See you on the dark side! One of two former railway tunnels in Myra Canyon.

Check out the trestle bridges and stop and think that they were built by hand – it’s mind boggling! Similarly, can you imagine the difficulty of carving out a tunnel on the side of a cliff? What an adventure that would be – albeit not one that I’m up for! As a cyclist, the trestles and tunnels are just pure fun! I had a big smile plastered to my face every time I crossed a trestle! There are not many places where you get to cycle along a historic railway!

7) Opportunity to Extend the Trip From 12Km to 80km and Cycle to Penticton

While I didn’t have time for this option, I love the idea of cycling the 80km to Penticton! Leigh from Hike Bike Travel explains how to do it.

Myra Canyon scenic cycle route in Kelowna

Re-built trestle bridge and recovering forest in Myra Canyon.

And that’s why I LOVED cycling Myra Canyon!

Want to check it out for yourself?

KNOW BEFORE YOU CYCLE IN MYRA CANYON

Weather in Myra Canyon

Kelowna can get very hot, so go in the morning before it gets too warm, or choose to cycle on a cooler day.

Length

It’s 12km each way, so 24 km in total if you want to cycle across each of the 18 trestles. If that’s too much for you, you can just cycle until you’ve had enough, then return back.  The views start from the beginning of the trail and the first tunnels and trestle are near the beginning, so you don’t have to cycle the entire way to get the experience – although I do recommend it if you have the time and energy.

How Long Does It Take

It Will take you 3-4 hours return cycling at a slow pace with plenty of photo and water stops.Bring water and snacks with you.

Renting a Bike

You can rent a bike at the start of the trail head from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, which is what we did.  It costs $39 for an adult bike for a half day and $30 for a children’s bike.  In order to ensure you have a bike, I recommend making an advance reservation since they can be out of bikes.  While the bikes were fine, I found this to be expensive, so bring your own if you have one with you. Alternatively, Monashee Adventures Tours or Outbound Cycle rent bikes for $40 for a full day (no half day rentals available).

Who Is the Myra Canyon Trail Appropriate For:

I saw people of all pages, from infants in strollers (the path is stroller friendly) to elderly couples.  If you only want to do a part of the trail, you could also walk it, instead of cycling it.

How to Get to Myra Canyon:

You will need to drive, or if you were REALLY ambitious and don’t mind a steep uphill climb for 25km, you could also cycle. There are a few signs, but it’s very useful to have Google Maps. The address is: Myra Forest Service Road Parking Lot East Entrance, Kelowna.

Note: Don’t mistake this for Myra Canyon Adventure Park, as we did located on June Springs Road.  That’s also worth a visit though. There you will find a  climbing forest, slack line and disc golf (free if you bring your discs, but you can also rent them there)! The owner was very friendly!

Further Information:

See Tourism Kelowna, or call 1.800.663.4345

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.
2017-03-13T04:51:21+00:00

17 Comments

  1. Kathryn Burrington August 14, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    This sounds and looks fabulous. Wish I could have done this when I visited BC earlier this year. I do hope I get to go back one day. Such a magical place.

    • Laurel August 16, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      @Kathryn – Highly recommend it! It’s one of my favourite things to do in Kelowna!

  2. Oberlandguide August 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Cycling on mountains is a great activity to do. The views, the atmosphere and the experience is just awesome. No one can stop a traveler from travelling to the places of his choice and what more important is the experience and lessons one carry from it.

  3. Paty August 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    I loved the post! Actually, I included it in the 10 best travel posts of this week in my blog, hope you can have a look/share it: http://goo.gl/QsV0re 🙂

    • Laurel August 17, 2015 at 10:21 am - Reply

      @Paty – Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate you including it in your roundup!

  4. DeJavieur L Speller August 17, 2015 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Liked the post never heard of it until now. The pictures are amazing.

    • Laurel August 21, 2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

      @Dejavieur – Thank you! Always fun to discover new places and add to the ever growing travel bucket list!

  5. George August 19, 2015 at 3:01 am - Reply

    Love Cycling. It’s an experience exploring hostile terrains on a cycle.

  6. Claudia August 19, 2015 at 11:38 am - Reply

    They say a picture is often worth a thousand words and this post is proof of it! I love nature and adventure sports and biking is one of my things. I would have a blast in the Myra Canyon.

    • Laurel August 21, 2015 at 10:57 am - Reply

      @Claudia – Thank you! Yes, it definitely sounds like it would be your thing! I loved it!

  7. Sand In My Suitcase August 23, 2015 at 1:23 am - Reply

    That is a great cycle trip! We’ve done this! (Kelowna is just over a 4-hour drive for us from Vancouver, and we love visiting the Okanagan at least once a year for a getaway…) Lovely photos – you make us want to visit again soon for a repeat bike ride :-).

    • Laurel August 23, 2015 at 8:35 am - Reply

      @Sand in My Suitcase – Glad to hear you enjoyed it and great that it’s so close to you – by Canadian standards 😉

  8. Paran September 11, 2015 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Amazing trip . Images are Natural and beauty ..Thanks for sharing ..

  9. Marcia October 25, 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    If I’d had to guess, Laurel, I’d have said the fire was recent, not 12 years ago!
    The views here are spectacular, exactly what I’ve come to expect of Western Canada. Love the wide, open spaces and the blue, blue skies.

    • Laurel November 2, 2015 at 9:05 am - Reply

      @Marcia – It takes a looooooong time to recover – really puts things in perspective.

  10. Como conquistar uma menina December 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    wooowww beautiful place girl…

    I want to visit soon

    Congratulations, Amazing Photos

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